In Dash Touch Screen (Silverleaf)

This is a nice little hacking project for all the tinkerers out there. I replaced our double din radio / cd combination with a 7” touch screen monitor attached to a netbox. This will run VMSpc (among other things) with the in-dash monitor to create our own advanced driver information center.

It has a CD/DVD player and a HD radio module, so we can pull out the stock radio and use that space without losing any radio functionality, and in fact gain quite a bit. The netbox will be powered by 12V through a power brick so we don’t need to run the inverter and it will be mounted in the dash compartment below the pull-out tray.

The reason to go this route was so we could run our VMSpc on the in-dash touchscreen. The VMSpc was discontinued, so today I would install a double din touch screen unit that runs android auto or apple carplay. They do make a bluetooth truck monitor that should be able to interface, but that is another project.

A netbox is the desktop equivalent of a netbook (those mini laptops you see), its a full PC that in this case uses an Intel Atom D525 processor, which is low power but good performance (basically the equivalent of a Intel Core2 Duo 1.40GHz) so no barn burner but it only uses 13Watts of power. The netbox also uses a laptop hard drive and memory to keep it small, it only measures 7.48” x 5.31” x 0.98”.

The screen I chose is a 7” touch screen, that seems to be the largest you can fit in the existing double din opening. It also has two additional video inputs that I can use. I wired a small push switch to the right front of the monitor so I can switch inputs in the future. This allows me to switch to the PC input or to a camera (backup) input. I purchased a stand alone mini “display” and harvested the screen from it. If you look around you can also find raw screens that you can use. The trick is to make sure the screen will fit in the double din video bezel.

Double Din Display Holder, it will all fit but not by much!
The original control board for the touch screen were harvested from the monitor.
The touchscreen was removed from its housing and placed in a double din frame.
A new remote input switch and IR receiver were wired to the front of the display frame.

Behind the screen I build a small shelf / enclosure. This holds the HD radio (AM/FM (including HD) and Sirus / Xm reception) and the separate amplifier. The amp was hook into the existing wiring that ran to the 4 speakers in the coach. This then allows the HD radio as well as the MP3 player on the netbox to play over those speakers. Since it has a hard drive I have my entire MP3 collection and playlists on line at the press of the screen. And if none of that suits me it can also play DVD’s as well. The DVD player is mounted in the center dog house.

Some of the items used include:

I created a basic mounting "shelf" to go where the old radio was. This will be used to hold the new parts.
The LCD has been mounted in the dash, covering the opening that the old radio left behind.
The shelf is used to hold the LCD in place as well has mount other electronics.
The Amplifier, on top so it has the best airflow

The system has a special power supply that turns on with the ignition and sends an ACPI (think relay) to the pc’s power switch to boot the PC. The supply is a constant voltage output so the PC will survive running / booting while the engine is being started. Turn the ignition off and when the PC is done shutting down it turns itself off to remove any loads due to the PC or monitor.

Since its a PC (running windows XP) I will hook it up to my Vmspc for use as a coach monitor, but with the touch screen have multiple screens to jump to at the touch of a button screen … one for engine, one for transmission, overall status, etc. This provides me with specific information without the clutter of having 30+ VMSPC gauges on a 17” screen overwhelming me when I should be concentrating on the road.

I also have the GPS hooked in to the unit so with another touch of the screen the GPS map program (Garmin mobile PC) will come up and be used as guidance.

With the WiFi, it uses the wireless tether from my phone so while on the road I can get weather maps for my current location (since the GPS knows where I am). I can also get the current fuel prices, traffic reports, etc like you can on a smart phone, just easier to tap a big button on a dash monitor.

Some Screen Shots